Christmas Past

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,”

A visit from St Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

I’m thinking of our first ever family Christmas with all three children and us all together. Christmas 2010.

Shiny happy

golden boy

gorgeous girl

I am so blessed to have these children with me & to have family to share a Christmas feast. Yes I am.

A very bookish Christmas

Molly’s first ever advent calendar

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

I seem to have lost a little of my Grinch now & am feeling a bit more in the spirit of Christmas. Helped in part I think by having some time alone to shop for presents.

A few weeks back I had taken myself to our local op shop to buy stocking fillers. My children’s stockings are huge, handmade by a family friend for each child at their first Christmas. On a limited budget second hand was the sensible option, plus it fulfilled my new shopping ethos: local, handmade or recycled.

Today I had something else in mind so I headed to Next Page Please, our local independent children’s bookshop. I didn’t have any specific titles I wanted but Maria, who owns the shop, is full of bookish information & happy to share suggestions for different age groups & interests. This makes it an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

For Molly I selected: A Colin Thiele boxed set which includes two classics – Storm Boy and Magpie Island. I also chose Utterly me, Clarice Bean by Lauren Childs. Whacky kids & animals are high in Molly’s areas of interest.

Jacob, who is almost four, is keen on the tools of early literacy and fantasy play so I chose I spy with my little eye by Edward Gibbs, & Taming the sun: four Mãori myths by Gavin Bishop. I love Bishop’s illustrations, his renditions of our indigenous mythology & I’m sure Jacob will too.

Pete is a transporter, everywhere he goes he likes to have a trolley, a pushchair, a wheelbarrow or a car. He’s two years old so the illustrations are as important as the textual story. I think that Bruiser by Gavin Bishop & My 1st car was red by Peter Schössow will be just perfect.

There are also some second hand books for the stockings. These were found at our op shop & the local Sunday markets. I heard it in the playground by Allan Arlberg, These Islands: NZ verse collected by Gwenyth Jones & The Wednesday Wizard by Sherryl Jordan for Molly. Real life nightmares edited by Pat Edwards for Jacob (who also enjoy scary tales). For Pete who sometimes struggles with sleep I found a lovely copy of Mem Fox’s book Time for Bed.

James, my husband, will also be getting a book. I won his present from @FlyAirNZ on Twitter! It’s a hardback, colour book of the Artwork from the Tintin movie, signed by the creative team including our own Richard Taylor from WETA Workshop. I know he will love pouring over this alone & with Jacob who is a new Tintin fan.

I did sneak in a couple of gifts for myself today from a secondhand stall at the markets. James is insisting that I wrap them. So two summer dresses and two pairs of shoes will be waiting for me on Christmas Day. I’m sure that someone else in the family will buy me a book or two. *hint, hint*

If the heavy rain that’s been drenching Auckland this last week doesn’t stop  we’ll spend the days following the 25th recovering from over-eating & enjoying our new books.

I hope you have a happy, bookish Christmas too.

weary

through a glass darkly

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

it’s only wednesday but i feel so weary. some of it a good, achiveved happy things weary, some of it more a no please no more of this kind of weary.

pete remains a child who doesn’t sleep well in the night. he’s in with me once i go to bed and he usually wakes between 4 & 6 x a night. luckily for all of us he has a winning charachter so the days go by in a sleep deprived but mostly happy way.

jacob is growing up fast, 3 in february. his speech & language are still blurry after a long time with undiagnosed glue ear but there’s been a lot of progress since his grommet operation in september. he also loves playcentre and wants to be there every day.

molly is a lean streak these days. taller & taller. lots of friends & enjoyment at school and with family. she is loving her bicycle and rides well without assistance. gymnastics & art continue to give her pleasure also.

james and i have been saddened this week with some deaths: a friend’s brother died today after a long battle with HIV, a colleague died last thursday after many years of living with cancer and another friend’s father died also on thursday but in australia, also from cancer. all three men have had long illnesses through which they were loved & supported by their families. i’m glad they could leave the pain & illness and now we will care for those left behind.

ka kite ano

seven wonderful things about today

flat out

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

my mother orchestrated a deliciously long sleep-in for me

my daughter was angelic almost all day

the sun shone & the sky was blue

i could enjoy my family

our dog is recovering well from major knee surgery

i discovered (& enjoyed) a new band on the radio – the school of seven bells

my husband was loving, sexy & kind

brain malfunction

life has been full of craziness around here. much of which i am not in a position to write about. with an overload of stress, a new baby busily growing, a now five year old and a 15 month old there is not a lot of sleeping going on but much running around keeping other people happy and fed.  my poor brain just doesn’t seem able to cope: first i had a small manic attack as my medication levels dropped and now i can’t remember essential things like my flickr password, my internet banking password, where my keys are and what the heck this book i am reading is all about.

i know it’s just my body telling me it’s overloaded and i would try to take some time for me but seriously, there just isn’t any and other people in my family are as overloaded as i am. so i take a deep breath, feel my baby moving inside of me, sleep when i can. eat well and walk often. that will do for now.

oh i miss flickr though.

transitions

chiaroscuro

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

it’s been a while since i have been able to set aside some time for writing and peaceful thinking but being assigned to bed rest seems like it might be the right moment.

our little family has been in transition lately. firstly, over the christmas holidays we moved house for the third time in less than two years. (sigh). a move that although a little sad is also positive. we have shacked up with my mum in the medium term, hopefully so we can save some money and pay off some accumulated debts.

then of course we have had the first anniversary of jacob and findlay’s birth. a celebration and a memorial. some laughter and some tears. sounds cliche but for us it was true. i am so proud to see my little son growing, walking, learning about books and language. i also mourn my little boy who died and wonder how life would be different if he had been here with us.

now my eldest child (daughter) is making tracks to school. she turns five on april 27 and has had two school visits. she has gone from saying “mum i don’t want to start school until i am 50″ to being a kid who can’t wait for Tuesday morning which is visiting day. she is so ripe for greater learning it’s exhilirating, we merely follow in her wake.

and then the bed rest… i am almost 12 weeks pregnant but have had some bleeding. it’s not major, heavy or full of pain but it causes some anxiety. i had a scan this week which showed the baby’s heart beating and movement. so far, so good. i am off to see the midwife at the end of this week and will try to stay off my feet in the meantime. i am want to be excited but need to hold on to my heart for now.

does not respond well to criticism

or perhaps it should be “does not work well with others”. i’m not sure. maybe it’s both.

recently i joined an organisation i was part of as a child. in my heart i know it is a good place, it is right for my family and my kids but right now i am struggling with it.

at first it was all sunshine and roses. I ran around high and happy and excited with my new project.  Then things at home became very difficult.  Geek boy and I are living apart for the time being.  Not a choice taken lightly and very stressful for all involved. Suddenly being part of such a family focussed place makes me feel strange, an outsider.  as rebellious as i like to paint myself, internally, cringeworthily, i have this enormous desire to conform .  One of these families is NOT like the other ones….

secondly, during a moment of high stress i had an unfortunate run in with one of the other parents. a lovely woman who had been very kind when i first joined.  now despite apologies from me things between us are awkward.  i feel like everyone saw what happened and sees how it is now. i blotted my copybook so soon. my instinct is to quit and leave my mistake behind me.

thirdly, this is a place where there are unwritten rules, codes of conduct that those in the know know of. break those rules and you are frowned upon.  so it is that i find for the second week in a row that i have broken the rules. first it was walking around with hot drinks and second it was answering my cell phone on session.  i understand both rules have good reasons behind them.  today when i answered my phone it was with very good reason and i riled at being told off.  yes, does not respond well to criticism. i’m a poor me  after it has happened.  it boils inside me until later on it comes out in tears.  my instinct is to quit and leave the reprimands behind me.

i want to do this right. i want these people to like me. like a sad 14 year old i want to fit in with the gang, be one of the cool kids. for now i am the new kid on the block wearing a skirt when everyone else chose jeans.